Microsoft says Vista beta testers better hurry

Cutoff for downloading current test version of next operating system is nearing, company blogger warns.

For those who want to try out the current test version of Microsoft's Windows Vista, it may be now or never.

The company is nearing its self-imposed cutoff point and plans to stop allowing new downloads after Friday, according to Microsoft blogger Ian Moulster.

"In case you weren't aware, we are only providing a limited number of copies of Windows Vista Beta 2--either download or physical copies--and we're fast approaching the cutoff point, " Moulster wrote. "What this means is--if you want to get a copy, get it now (and I mean now)."

Microsoft in May but didn't make it available to the general public until earlier this month. Microsoft cautioned at the time that it might limit the number of testers.

According to the latest schedule, the oft-delayed operating system is due to be finished and available to large corporate customers late this year, with a mainstream launch in January.

As for the current beta, Moulster said people who start their download before the cutoff will be able to finish getting the software, even if it takes them slightly past the deadline. He cautioned that people should make sure that they get a product key for the software and also recommended that people activate their beta software. "We may be able to provide people who have activated copies with future...stuff," he said. "I'm being vague because I need to be. Just trust me and make sure you activate."

A Microsoft representative confirmed the company has nearly reached the amount of testers it plans to allow to try Vista Beta 2. "The Windows Vista Beta 2 code is available in limited quantities, and we've almost reached that limit and expect to close the program shortly," the representative said in an e-mail.

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